Victoria Grizzlies Sign a Trio of Players

The Victoria Grizzlies announced that they have signed American Forward Benjamin Biester from the Anaheim Junior Ducks out of the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League.

The Danville, California product spent the last two seasons playing for the organization. He put up 27 points in 37 games for the U16 team in 2017-2018, and 19 goals and 32 points in 30 games for the U18 team this year.

Successful players who have played in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League prior to making the jump to the National Hockey League include Vincent Trocheck and Johnny Gaudreau. Trocheck played in the league in 2008-09 before choosing to play for the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League, while Gaudreau played there in 2009-10 before heading off to Boston College of the NCAA.

Standing at 6’0″ and 185 lbs., Biester was drafted in the sixth round by the Minnesota Wilderness of the North American Hockey League earlier this year. The Utica Jr. Comets of the USPHL also selected the forward in the 2019 National Collegiate Development Conference Draft in May. He has instead decided to come to British Columbia to audition for NCAA teams.

Biester is a scoring threat every time he steps on the ice but also excels at forechecking. His speed allows him to be responsible on both sides of the puck, which will endear him to Grizzlies’ fans this season.

He joins two other signings that the Victoria Grizzlies made in July. Defenseman Isack Bandu and forward Andrew Amousse come over from Stanstead College of the Midwest Prep Hockey League. Hailing from Quebec, both have an offensive touch that should excite fans when they arrive in British Columbia.

Bandu played at Stanstead in 2018-19 – the same school that former Grizzlies star Alex Campbell skated for in 2017-18 – and put up two goals and six points in 19 games this season, but added another four points in five playoff games. A ninth-round pick of Chicoutimi in the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft, he is considered a great skater and Victoria head coach Craig Didmon believes that he can be a top defenseman in the BCHL.

Amousse is a bigger skater with soft hands and has spent three seasons with Stanstead College, the last in 2018-19 as an assistant captain. He scored 10 goals and 16 points in 18 games and was drafted in the seventh round of the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft by Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. Didmon expects Amousse to bring a physical game to Victoria and could be an elite power forward for the Grizzlies in 2019-20.

The three fresh faces are currently without NCAA scholarships entering the season, but there will be a lot of eyes on them in a market like Victoria. The success of recent graduates like Campbell, Alex Newhook, and Carter Berger have players from all over North America clamoring for a home at the Q Center.

Victoria’s season starts on August 23 with their preseason opener against the Nanaimo Clippers.